Entitled 'How Important Are Mobile Broadband Networks for Global Economic Development?', the report examines data from 135 countries. The report reveals that as mobile broadband penetration increases by 10 percent, it causes a 0.6-2.8 percent rise in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That translates to an equivalent of approximately USD 500–2000 billion, worldwide in 2016.
Previous reports have examined fixed broadband, and researchers have only been able to estimate its effect on economic growth. This study, on the other hand, has been able to conclude that the introduction of mobile broadband has an immediate positive effect on a country’s economy, and a longer-term knock-on effect as mobile broadband gradually spreads to different economies.
Harald Edquist, Master Researcher in Macroeconomics at Ericsson Research and one of the report authors, says: “Many countries in the developing world have used mobile broadband technology to leapfrog in their economic development in the past 10–15 years. I believe that if these countries, and others, continue to invest wisely in mobile broadband, they will have an excellent opportunity to continue to reap the benefits of continuous productivity improvements and new economic opportunities that simply would not be possible without mobile broadband.”
Mobile broadband networks have spread rapidly, and are set to continue doing so. The Ericsson Mobility Report (June 2017), states that at the end of 2016, around 3.2 billion subscribers (out of the world’s total population of 7.4 billion) had access to the Internet via mobile broadband technology. It is forecast that an additional 2.6 billion subscribers will have mobile broadband Internet access by 2022.
The findings from both reports will serve as the backbone of discussions during UN Week in New York, September 16-22, where Ericsson will participate in discussions with global stakeholders, including the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, about the world economy and the beneficial role that ICT can play in development.
Edquist continues: “We have always challenged traditional ways of thinking. Being true to our company purpose of innovating technology for good and creating new economic opportunities we make life better, whether through connecting people in new ways, building technologies for industries in transformation or creating a more inclusive society. This is set to continue as we enter an era of 5G, IoT and cloud network infrastructure.”
To learn more about our vision of the future, the role of 5G, and the impact of mobile broadband on society, visit this page, or download one of our recent white papers on the topic here.